Adventures in Offal: Get Your Tongue Out!

Sick of cooking chicken, eating chicken and everything else tasting like chicken? Welcome to lean, mean, offal cuisine. First up, a lovely bit of tongue.
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Step number 1.

One shot of sloe gin, from sloes collected from the South Downs.

Step number 2.

Open Nose to Tail Eating page 94.

Step number 3.

Mild panic.

I bought the tongue from the butchers yesterday. I feel a bit sick looking at it. Its huge. Longer than my new puppy. It feels like a scratchy cat’s tongue. Alcohol will help with this.

It was already salted in a brine for about three weeks. A little longer than I would have done, so I'm a little concerned about the saltiness. Sometimes they say it should be rinsed for 24 hours, but not in the recipe I'm following. My biggest concern at the moment is the stuff at the bottom of the tongue. Do I cook that too? Or cut it off? It looks, to be frank, disgusting. Fatty, boulbous, bright yellow.

I cut some of the foul looking bits off, but it actually looks pretty meaty on second inspection. I have mostly followed the recipe in Nose to Tail however, I followed one piece of advice to bring it to the boil briefly first, get rid of the liquid and scum that gathers on the top of the water. In fact, it is actually beginning to look more meat like.

I peeled a couple of carrots, an onion and crushed ten cloves of garlic and threw in some peppercorns, rosemary from the garden a couple of doors down (old people's home – they bang on the window but they'll never catch me), and some bay leaves from our garden, two sticks of celery and all the veg from this morning's trotter foray. And now leave it for 3.5 hours. Time for a country walk I think...

(My Mac smells of garlic)

"I feel a bit sick looking at it. Its huge. Longer than my new puppy. It feels like a scratchy cat’s tongue. Alcohol will help with this."

I do what any proud cook would do when it was finished. I took it to the pub. So thank you to the friends in the Ship, Meads, Eastbourne, who went over and above in trying my freshly cooked tongue (that will teach them right for showing an interest).

Anyway, apart from some comments against the smell – there was pub quiz on and it was packed – those who tried it were impressed. As was my family who I forced it down. I left a lump for grandad’s sandwiches. Even my 11-year-old sister, Martha, tried a bit, although even peeled, it showed signs of taste buds (or what ever they are) so I had to slice some off.

Some said it was 'hammy', others gobbled up seconds. It was still warm when I served it with some fresh beetroot (boiled, not roasted due to time constraints, i.e. that extra pint in the pub) however, it was cold in a sandwich the next day when it seemed in its prime. With a texture like a boiled ham, but not as tough as cold roast beef, it was rich – a hint of fat, and the merest offal taste. The first day I had it with just English mustard, however, it was better the next day with a bit of mayo on the other side and some crunchy lettuce.

Anyway, I would definitely do tongue again. Very easy. I would suggest that whereas the tip and middle of the tongue are leanest, it seemed the back of the tongue and the under hanging part were a bit fattier and tastier.

A success.

Fancy making a meal of it like Daniel? Many of the recipes he uses are straight from the pages of 'Nose to Tail Eating' by Fergus Henderson.

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